Fake news is deliberate misinformation, disinformation, and hoax spread through traditional or social media platforms to deceive people. With the use of clickbait and news media content form, the purpose of fake news is to score financial or political gain at the expense of a person, group of people, or organization’s reputation.
For businesses, fake news can be damaging. A false headline can lead to demoralized employees, stock price crash, and PR disaster. All of these may cause irreversible damages to the brand’s growth and reputation. Therefore, preventing the spread of fake news at work should be a top priority to top business executives.
To combat fake news, companies have to be proactive by ensuring the press they get during the pandemic and afterward is optimized for success. To do this, there are specific steps companies can take to protect themselves, their employees, and clients. Here are 5 ways companies can stop the spread of fake news.
5 ways to companies can combat fake news
Create transparent communication
Many employees do not have direct access to communication with their companies’ leadership. In the advent of plausible misinformation on social media platforms, these employees cannot get immediate clarification or confirmation from their leaders.
Creating a transparent line of communication can help companies solve this problem. Through it, the gap in communication between leaders and employees will be closed. It will also afford leaders the opportunity to listen to employees’ opinions about the given issue.
There are several ways an organization can create a transparent line of communication.
For one, CEOs and managers can make it a duty to provide regular updates about current happenings using an app like Sprynkl. Also, they can try answering important questions bothering their employees via video on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Another way companies can enhance their internal communication is by creating and enforcing an open door policy. Taking these steps will empower leaders and employees to communicate better and curb the spread of misinformation.
Establish truth ambassadors
During transitions, some companies appoint a change agent or ambassador to help their employees adapt to the new reality. Businesses can learn from this approach and appoint truth ambassadors to curb misinformation.
The truth ambassadors will serve as a link between the management and employees. They will have direct access to the CEOs and executives who will brief them with information that concerns the organization on a weekly or monthly basis.
With the establishment of trusted sources of information, employees will have a point of contact when faced with misinformation about the pandemic or anything else. Truth ambassadors are even more needed in organizations with remote workers, as they can also help companies disseminate valuable information and updates about the management.
In the long run, having truth ambassadors will minimize the spread of fake news between coworkers.
Build a single source of truth
With social media platforms filled with false facts, it is easy for employees to stumble upon misinformation and rumors. These employees could, in turn, spread this news to their coworkers thereby leading to panic or loss of morale.
This can be quelled if companies set up a single source of truth where employees know they can find the latest and trusted information right away. Establishing a source of truth is especially important during volatile times like the COVID-19 pandemic, mergers, acquisitions, or PR disasters.
An example of this is implementing the use of an internal social network like Sprynkl. This will serve as an internal source of truth for employees looking to find the truth when rumors are spreading.
Educate your employees
In this era of misinformation, people need to be able to identify what is true from what is not. This is particularly important now given that misinformation in situations likea pandemic can put employees’ lives at risk.
As a way to check the spread of fake news, companies can institute internal learning programs for their employees. These programs will raise awareness and educate employees about the impacts of false information. In addition, it will equip them with skills that will help them distinguish facts from fake news.
For example, companies can create specialized courses for their employees to help them navigate the world of social media. These courses will include guides that can help them identify legitimate sources of information on the internet.
Furthermore, the courses should also help employees improve their skills in social media research, fact-checking as well as verifying images through tools like Google Reverse Image Search.
Protect your brand
To truly win the war against fake news and misinformation, companies also have to combat fake news externally. This is important because it is vital to maintaining the brand’s public perception. There are 3 key ways companies can combat fake news externally, namely:
- Stay vigilant – Companies can dedicate employees to regularly comb the social media for negative mentions and harmful contents concerning their brands. This way, they will be able to actively curb any malicious or harmful content aimed at staining the organization’s reputation before it spreads.
- Be open – Transparency is vital in dealing with the issue of misinformation. Businesses have to be open in their dealings with their clients about issues that concern them. This includes listening to customers’ demands, providing a channel for customers to air their grievances, and attending to their needs promptly.
- Avoid unconfirmed information – Companies should make sure they do not peddle unconfirmed information. Every information an organization references in their newsletter, blog posts, and emails must be fact-checked to ensure they are correct. This way, the company will not aid the spreading of fake news.
By implementing these 3 steps, companies will be able to protect their reputation and ensure they are not unwilling participants in the spread of fake news.
The fake news era is a challenging period for businesses to exist in. With the pandemic and other unpredictable activities going on around the world, it is easy for companies and their employees to get caught up as victims or participants in the spread of misinformation. To avoid this, companies can take the following 5 steps:
- Create transparent communication
- Establish truth ambassadors
- Build a single source of truth
- Educate their employees
- Protect their brand
By taking the steps to fight fake news now, companies will be able to maintain their customers’ trust, protect their brand reputation, and stop the spread of false news among their employees.